INTERIOR DESIGNER POLLY DENHAM LAYERS HER SHIPPAN HOME WITH TREASURES GATHERED FROM PLACES NEAR AND FAR
What separates interior designers from ordinary people is their ability to see the potential in a space or an object and then turn it into something extraordinary. The best can pluck a choice piece out of a dusty junk pile, polish it, put it on a mantel and suddenly it becomes the crowning glory of the living room.
Polly Denham has this skill down pat. Whether sifting through the Florida sands searching for just the right seashell or perusing a musty antique shop in France, she looks for objects that transcend value or pedigree. Simply put, when she falls in love with an object, she buys it.
"I love white ironstone," she says. "Mercury glass I love, love, love. I've got a whole collection of shark teeth by the tub. I love them." Her four-bedroom, Country French house in the Shippan section of Stamford, which she shares with her husband Mark, a developer, and their two teenage sons, also includes collections of tortoise shells, seashells, urns, animal horns, trophies, busts and coral—one piece so big and heavy it set off the seat belt warning when she drove it home in the front seat of her car. Though the mix sounds rather convoluted, it looks anything but. Perhaps it's because Polly was born and raised in Atlanta, a place where "people have decorators before they put their kids in college," she explains. "I'm joking, but it's a major priority."
The Denhams' home is the kind of place where you might find yourself sitting down to an elegant dinner, Champagne glass in hand, studying the art on the wall or the tortoise shells on the mantel.